Duffy hails young guns after late tries send Bedford packing
Connacht Eagles 17 Bedford Blues 8
Connacht coach Jimmy Duffy praised his youthful Eagles side who moved up to second in their pool with victory over English championship side Bedford Blues.
Dave Heffernan and Andrew Browne both touched down for the westerners, who could go top with a win in the return fixture next weekend.
"I thought the boys did really well. Bedford are a very physical side, especially in the pack. But I thought our boys, especially the younger lads, did really well there, which was encouraging to see," said Duffy. "We haven't paid much heed to the tables, but since the Llanelli game, the lads have knuckled down.
The Blues led 5-3 at the break thanks to a try from former Leinster centre Brendan Burke, but the home side ratcheted up their efforts after the break.
Jack Carty gave Connacht hope just before half-time with a penalty and, after Michael Le Bourgeois edged Bedford back in front, late tries from Heffernan and Browne sent the Blues home empty-handed.
Connacht Eagles – S Layden; D Panter, C Finn (T Leader 74), B Murphy, S Macauley; J Carty, P O'Donohoe (C Blade 74); F Bealham, J Rael (D Heffernan 51), JP Cooney (P Reilly 68); D Nolan, D Qualter (U Dillane 51); A Browne, E Masterson, S O'Brien (C Kindregan 78).
Bedford Blues – M Le Bourgeois; P Tapley, B Burke (J Sharp 56), O Dodge, J Short; M Atkinson, D Veenendaal (B Calder 76); D Fearn (N Steenkamp 56), C Clare (TJ Harris 71), P Boulton (T Gillardon 56); M Howard (B Gulliver 60), P Tupai; T Jubb (T Armes 60), M Hankin, N Fenton-Wells.
Ref – G Wells (SRU)
* See Page 34 for B&I Cup tables